Main article: Reagan assassination attempt
On March 30, 1981, Reagan, along with his press secretary James Brady and two others, were shot by a would-be assassin, John Hinckley, Jr. Missing Reagan’s heart by less than one inch,[82] the bullet instead pierced his left lung.[82] He began coughing up blood in the limousine and was rushed to George Washington University Hospital, where it was determined that his lung had collapsed;[82] he endured emergency surgery to remove the bullet.[83] In the operating room, Reagan joked to the surgeons, "I hope you're all Republicans!"[84] Though they were not, Joseph Giordano replied, "Today, Mr. President, we're all Republicans."

The bullet was removed and the surgery was deemed a success.[83] It was later determined, however, that the president's life had been in serious danger due to rapid blood loss and severe breathing difficulties.[85] He was able to turn the grave situation into a more light-hearted one, though, for when Nancy Reagan came to see him he told her, "Honey, I forgot to duck" (using Jack Dempsey's quip).[84]

The president was released from the hospital on April 11 and recovered relatively quickly,[86] becoming the first serving U.S. President to survive being shot in an assassination attempt.[87] The attempt had great influence on Reagan's popularity; polls indicated his approval rating to be around 73%.[88] Reagan believed that God had spared his life so that he might go on to fulfill a greater purpose.[89]

Air traffic controllers' strike
Main article: Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (1968)
Only a short time into his administration, federal air traffic controllers went on strike, violating a regulation prohibiting government unions from striking.[90] Declaring the situation an emergency as described in the 1947 Taft Hartley Act, Reagan held a press conference in the White House Rose Garden, where he stated that if the air traffic controllers "do not report for work within 48...

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